It’s (almost) showtime! Over 30 years after Tim Burton‘s Beetlejuice came out, a sequel film is finally in the works. Jenna Ortega, one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, is set to play the daughter of Winona Ryder‘s character, Lydia Deetz, while Winona will reprise her iconic role. Michael Keaton is suiting up as Betelgeuse once again. The film, which is officially titled Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, will be released in theaters on September 6, 2024.
For those that haven’t seen it, Beetlejuice follows deceased couple Adam and Barbara Maitland, played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, who try to scare away a family now living in their house. They make contact with an over-the-top bio-exorcist named Betelgeuse, but his antics only complicate matters.
Beetlejuice 2 was officially confirmed in February 2022, per Deadline, with Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment producing alongside Warner Bros. From the release date to the cast and crew, HollywoodLife has rounded up everything to know about the highly-anticipated sequel.
‘Beetlejuice 2’ Cast & Crew
The original Beetlejuice stars Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones as Delia and Charles Deetz, who move into the Maitland’s old house and become terrorized by Betelgeuse. Winona Ryder plays their goth teenage daughter, Lydia Deetz, who becomes friends with the friendly Maitland ghosts.
So far, Michael Keaton, Winona, Geena, and Catherine are the cast members who are set to return for Beetlejuice 2. The film wouldn’t be possible without Betelgeuse himself, so thank goodness Michael’s coming back!
“Beetlejuice is the most f***in’ fun you can have working. It’s so fun, it’s so great. And you know what it is? We’re doing it exactly like we did the first movie,” Michael told Empire.
The actor continued, “[Burton] and I were talking about it years and years ago, never telling anybody. We’ve both said we’re doing it many times. We both agreed, if it happens, it has to be done as close to the way we made it the first time. Making stuff up, making stuff happen, improvising and riffing, but literally handmade stuff like people creating things with their hands and building something.” He added, “It’s the most fun I’ve had working on a movie in I can’t tell you how long.”
Winona, who currently stars in Netflix’s Stranger Things, previously expressed interest in starring in a Beetlejuice sequel. “I love Lydia Deetz so much. She was such a huge part of me,” Winona told The Daily Beast in 2013. “I would be really interested in what she is doing 27 years later.”
Other cast members’ returns have yet to be announced. Alec’s return is questionable due to the controversy from the Rust shooting incident. Geena Davis’ return is also unclear, but she told PEOPLE in 2022 that she “would, of course, like to revisit” the character.
In March 2023, it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that Wednesday breakout star Jenna Ortega was in talks to join the sequel. Her casting was confirmed in April 2023 at CinemaCon. Jenna will play Astrid in the movie.
“I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, but I am Lydia Deetz’s daughter, so I’ll give that away,” she told Vanity Fair. “She’s weird, but in a different way and not in the way you’d assume, I would say. The relationship between Lydia and Astrid, my character, is very important. And it’s also really strange because it’s a lot of catching up and putting the pieces together of what’s gone on in Lydia’s life since, which is nice, I think, for anybody who loves the character and is excited to see her again.”
The sequel marks Jenna’s second project with Burton, who directed the Beetlejuice sequel. The famous filmmaker has been asked about having Johnny Depp star in Beetlejuice 2 and didn’t deny anything when he spoke to MTV about the possibility in 2012. Tim and Johnny enjoy working together and have already brought incredible films to the screen, such as Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hallow, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Sweeney Todd. However, Johnny’s possible role may be in jeopardy because of his defamation trial against Amber Heard, which has impacted his career.
Tim is listed as the film’s director per IMDb, and he has confirmed his interest in the past. In 2015, he told Collider he would sign on to direct a sequel if it made sense. “This is the thing, it’s something that I’m interested in, but there’s so many stories [online], dumping Michael Keaton for Johnny Depp and this or that, and I’ve talked to these people and they didn’t wanna hear this so they just made up a story,” he pressed.
“But the fact of it is I have talked to Michael and I have talked to Winona, I’ve talked to a few people,” he continued. “It’s something that I really would like to do in the right circumstances, but it’s one of those films where it has to be right. It’s not a kind of a movie that cries out [for a sequel], it’s not the Beetlejuice trilogy. So it’s something that if the elements are right — because I do love the character and Michael’s amazing as that character, so yeah we’ll see. But there’s nothing concrete yet.” That’s certainly promising!
Michael shared a similar sentiment when he spoke about the potential sequel in 2016. “It’s possible that ship has sailed,” he told Variety. “The only way to do it is to do it right. So much of it was improvised, and so much was beautifully handmade by the artist that is Tim Burton. If you can’t get close to that, you leave it alone.”
Furthermore, Geena revealed that she “would of course like to revisit” Beetlejuice in an October 2022 chat with PEOPLE, but also said she has no information about the sequel and has not yet been contacted about it. “I want to play every character I’ve ever played again,” she added. As mentioned before, Plan B Entertainment and Warner Bros. will produce Beetlejuice 2.
‘Beetlejuice 2’ Filming News
Production began on Beetlejuice 2 in May 2023 amid the ongoing writers’ strike. Winona Ryder was seen back in character as Lydia Deetz on May 18 in Hertfordshire, England. After 35 years, Lydia’s still got her spiky hair and vampy makeup look.
On July 5, Jenna Ortega and Winona were spotted filming what appears to be a wedding scene for the sequel. Jenna was in full wedding attire, including a white tulle gown with some added pink coloring, a wedding veil, and more. Winona was covered up in a black parka as she prepared to film a scene. Filming wrapped in November 2023.
The Link To The Original ‘Beetlejuice’
Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren wrote the screenplay for the original Beetlejuice, while Tim directed. The movie was a massive hit after its 1998 release and even won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1999. Its success spawned numerous offshoots, starting with an animated TV series of the same name that ran on ABC, and then Fox, from 1989 to 1991. Tim produced the project. Then, several Beetlejuice video games were released, starting in 1990. The popular film was also adapted into a Broadway stage musical that opened in April 2019. The show closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but reopened at the Marquis Theatre in April 2022.
No plot details have been revealed for Beetlejuice 2. It would make sense for the sequel to take place many years after the events of the first film. Spoiler alert: Beetlejuice ends with the Deetzes and Maitlands living in the home harmoniously, while Betelgeuse ends up in the afterlife waiting room and gets his head shrunk by a witch doctor.
It’s been a long road to Beetlejuice 2. Plans for the sequel began in 1990 when Tim hired Jonathan Gems to write a second movie called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, per ScreenRant. It would’ve focused on the Deetzes moving to Hawaii, where they are haunted by a spirit. Michael and Winona agreed to the sequel, however, Tim became distracted with directing Batman Returns, which starred Michael as the iconic caped-crusader. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian was eventually shelved entirely by 1997.
Plans for a different sequel started up in 2011. Warner Bros. hired Seth Grahame-Smith, who worked with Tim on Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to write and produce the project. Winona even gushed about the sequel in a 2013 interview with The Daily Beast. “I’m kind of sworn to secrecy but it sounds like it might be happening. It’s 27 years later,” she confirmed. “And I have to say, I love Lydia Deetz so much. She was such a huge part of me. I would be really interested in what she is doing 27 years later.” However, that sequel was also canceled.
In 2021, Seth himself spoke about the canceled sequel. “It’s funny, when I had met with Tim about it last, and we’re talking about five years ago at this point, the reason that it’s so hard to get going is because so many people love it and because there are 10 million ways to get that sequel wrong and four ways to get it right,” he explained to Collider in Oct. 2021. “It’s such a very fine needle to thread that I certainly like didn’t get it there, on the script side. I didn’t thread the needle. There are things that were cool and some interesting ideas. I’ve certainly emotionally moved on from it and just said, ‘If it happens someday, it happens.'”